To that end, eight sites were identified around England and Wales that would be permitted to host new nuclear plants. Each of these sites has or has had a nuclear reactor there previously. Several consortia of utilities and vendors formed to develop new reactors at each of these sites, and one of them, Horizon Nuclear Power, was a joint venture of the German utility E.ON and RWE npower, a UK-based electricity and gas supply generation company.
Horizon had planned to build new reactors at the Wylfa and Oldbury sites in the UK, but today they announced that they would not, citing the global economic crisis and the financial after-effects of Germany’s plan to phase out nuclear power.
Last fall, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) announced that they were pulling out of the NuGeneration consortium, which has planned to build new reactors at the Sellafield site in Cumbria. The NuGeneration consortium still plans to continue without SSE.
I really enjoyed watching Alex Pasternack’s new short video on Dr. Edward Teller:
Ralph Moir had told me this story about Teller before, but watching it presented this way with the video interviews of Teller and short descriptions of projects that we worked on, was much richer. Teller was indeed a very unique kind of person, whose early experiences with Communism in Hungary shocked his mind into responses that others struggled to understand. I hesitate to cast any judgements since I certainly did not go through what Teller went through, but I have noticed that among Hungarian emigres to the US of a particular age (and I have met several) there is an intensity of personality that I have come to believe must be a product of this environment.
In posting this, I went back to reference an earlier post I had made for Alex’s previous effort, “The Thorium Dream”, and discovered to my horror that I had never posted it on the blog! So in attempting to rectify for that past oversight, here is his enjoyable short documentary on the growing effort to bring an understanding of thorium and the molten-salt reactor to the world.
Finally, Moir references the paper that he and Teller co-wrote, which was Teller’s final paper. For those of you who would like to read it, here it is in PDF form:
Thorium-Fueled Underground Power Plant Based on Molten Salt Technology, by Ralph Moir and Edward Teller, 2004
Last year, Kirk Dorius and I travelled to London to participate in the kickoff of the Weinberg Foundation, an advocacy group for thorium energy. I am pleased to announce with them the formation of an “All-Party Parliamentary Group” or APPG that contains members of both the House of Commons and House of Lords, to consider the potential of thorium as an energy source. This is a press release from the Weinberg Foundation that was issued today. Press contact details are included below.
Safer, cleaner nuclear alternative tops the agenda for new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Thorium Energy
World’s first coalition of cross-party legislators formed to examine thorium-fuelled nuclear power
Westminster, London – 01 March 2012 – The Weinberg Foundation, a not-for-profit advocacy group for thorium energy, announces the formation of a new All-Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Thorium Energy, which held a lively inaugural meeting in parliament yesterday.
Attracting cross-party support from MPs and Peers, the forum will generate critical debate on the potential of thorium as a viable new energy source and examine reactor technology and new fuel designs in planning for the adoption of a viable cleaner, safer and abundant global energy solution. As 10,000 times the energy density of coal, thorium is a convincing nuclear fuel option to tackle fossil-fuel reliance.
Labour Peer Baroness Worthington, who is the patron of the Weinberg Foundation and Chair of the APPG, comments:
“Whilst public opinion is moving towards the acceptance of nuclear power to combat environmentally damaging fossil-fuelled energy sources, Fukushima clearly demonstrated the dangers of traditional solid-fuel uranium reactor designs. If there is a safer ‘green nuclear’ alternative, which also effectively tackles waste, proliferation and energy security, we have a responsibility to future generations to examine it.”
Vice-Chair of the group Dr Julian Huppert MP said:
“As a scientist I am delighted to help establish this platform for evidence based discussion and debate on this most important issue. Nuclear power has always had great potential and the UK was once a world leader in nuclear science research. We intend to explore whether energy from thorium can make a significant contribution to delivering a low carbon economy and help to reinstate the UK’s leadership position.”
The Department for Energy and Climate Change in its recent response to a highly critical House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report into nuclear R&D recently announced its intention to consult on a long term strategy for nuclear power in the UK.
Many of the APPG members have backgrounds in science, climate policy and the energy industry and are well placed to examine the need for the UK to take a considered position on Thorium. Energy-hungry nations like China, Japan, India and others currently look to be leading the march on exploiting the benefits offered by Thorium-fuelled reactors.
The Weinberg Foundation is providing the secretariat to support the APPG.
Notes to the Editor
The list of founding members of the APPG is as follows:
Lord Clark of Windermere
Mike Crockart MP, Lib Dem
Tony Cunningham MP, Labour
Lord Deben, Conservative
Barry Gardiner MP, Labour
Lord Grantchester, Labour
Viscount Stephen Hanworth, Labour
John Hemming, Lib Dem
Lord Jay, Cross bench
The Rt Reverend Bishop of Hereford, Antony Priddis
Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan, Labour
Lord Oxburgh, Cross bench
Lord Stoddart, Independent Labour
Lord Taverne, Lib Dem
Lord Teverson, Lib Dem
James Wharton MP, Conservative
Heather Wheeler MP, Conservative
Lord Whitty, Labour
Simon Wright MP, Lib Dem
Tim Yeo MP, Conservative
For further information contact:
Communications, Weinberg Foundation
Secretariat to the APPG on Thorium Energy
Tel: +44 (0) 7793 555403
Email: Sophia [dot] henri [at] the-weinberg-foundation [dot] org
davidmj [at] parliament [dot] uk
Tel: 07903 434399
david [dot] martin [at] the-weinberg-foundation [dot] org
Yesterday the oldest nuclear power plant in the UK (Oldbury) permanently closed. Perhaps today the door is opening on a bright new thorium-powered future!